Halden Jail in Norway is often regarded as the most compassionate prison in the world. Inmates can learn to compose music, handicrafts, and prepare their own meals, preparing them for life outside. Despite complaints that it is overly lavish, Norway boasts one of the world's lowest reoffending rates.
No, there are no luxury prisons. However, not all prisons are created equal. Halden Jail was designed by Norwegian architect Arne Jacobsen and opened its doors in 1975. It is based on the idea that society's problems can be solved more effectively by helping people grow through exercise, work, and education, rather than punishing them.
The jail allows inmates access to a variety of activities such as music, art, theater, and dance, as well as educational courses and workshops. Halden offers its residents a choice between four different programs: the basic program, the general vocational training program, the specific vocational training program, and an educational program for children who have been excluded from school.
In addition to these options, inmates can work up to 20 hours per week in the prison garden or library. They are also allowed two half-hour visits a week and one hour visit once a month. Pets are also allowed but must meet certain requirements to be accepted by the institution. For example, they cannot be endangered to wildlife protection laws and must be vaccinated against rabies.
Norway's Halden Prison Halden is known as the most compassionate jail in the world for a reason: it is surrounded by plenty of vegetation and natural light. Every inmate has decent rooms with a reasonable amount of seclusion. The prison even has its own greenhouse where inmates can grow vegetables to sell on the outside market.
In addition, there are no bars inside the cells. Each room has a small window that looks out onto the yard or corridor. There are also small windows above each door for air circulation.
The prison was built in 1854 and has been expanded several times since then. In 2007, an additional wing was opened with new cells. Today, Halden has about 450 beds available for male prisoners. Women are held at Skien fengsel in neighboring Norway. This means that all rooms are available for use at any time, but most are empty during regular business hours.
As you might expect from a country famous for its tax-free shopping, Norway has some of the lowest crime rates in Europe. Its prisons are considered to be among the least violent in the world. Of all crimes reported to police in 2015, only 1 percent were found to have a person in custody at the time they were committed.
Prisons in Norway are not used for retribution but rather to protect the community and to provide rehabilitation for inmates.
Norway has routinely rated first on a variety of lists containing the world's best and most pleasant jails. Norway's jail system has grown during the 1990s into places of comfort, healing, and inclusion. Only prisoners who commit especially serious crimes are sent to mainland prisons in Norway. Most people convicted of minor offenses are given suspended sentences and ordered to complete a probation period at home under electronic surveillance. If they comply well and there are no new crimes committed, their cases are eventually dismissed.
The idea behind Norwegian probation is that you are not punished for your offense, but rather treated like anyone else who has violated one of society's rules. You will be required to participate in counseling or training programs, pay fines, or perform community service. Penalties can also include being placed in custody during weekends or holidays or having your driver's license suspended.
In practice, this means that most crime in Norway is preventable through social policies such as welfare, job training, health care, and education. In addition, there is less violence in Norwegian prisons because fights are generally prevented by sorting out individuals who would likely cause trouble.
Overall, the Norwegian approach aims to give everyone a second chance without depriving the state of necessary measures to protect citizens from criminal behavior.